CHARLOTTE, NC - Golden Door Scholars, a nonprofit founded and managed by Red Ventures CEO Ric Elias, announced today that it has awarded an additional 100 full scholarships to undocumented immigrants to enroll in college next year. Golden Door Scholars partners with colleges and universities to create educational opportunity for undocumented students and, since its inception in 2013, has awarded scholarships to 258 students in 14 states. All participants in the program are currently protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which will end in March, 2018.
“It’s an honor to give another 100 outstanding students the gift of education this year, particularly during a time when far too many are living in fear,” said Elias. “We don’t want these kids to give up hope. We will continue to invest time, energy and resources in them, in their futures, and in fulfilling the American promise of opportunity for all.”
Golden Door Scholars reviewed nearly 1000 applications this year alone, landing on a final scholarship list of 100 students, with an average unweighted GPA of 3.8.
This round of scholarships comes at a time when the future is uncertain for more than 700,000 DACA recipients - undocumented immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as children and who now attend school, serve in the military, and legally work. In September, the administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving Congress a 6-month window to pass legislation that mitigates the impact on those enrolled in the program. On average, more than 100 dreamers are losing protections like work permits daily – and that number will rise significantly until the program ends on March 5, 2018.
“We have 60 days left to find a solution for these kids. Congress’ inability to act quickly is not only frustrating, it’s inhumane,” Elias said. “People are not pawns, and their futures are not chips to be cashed in for political favors. Our communities, businesses and country will pay a steep price if we cannot come together and find a solution.”
On September 20th, hundreds of business leaders including Mark Zuckerburg, Warren Buffet and Elias himself, signed an open letter calling for a permanent legislative solution to avoid ‘devastating consequences’.
“Without congressional action, our economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions,” the letter said. “All DACA recipients grew up in America, registered with our government, submitted to extensive background checks, and are diligently giving back to our communities and paying income taxes. More than 97 percent are in school or in the workforce, 5 percent started their own business, 65 percent have purchased a vehicle, and 16 percent have purchased their first home. At least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies count DACA recipients among their employees.”
The Golden Door Scholars team, led by Director Kacey Grantham and operated out of Red Ventures’ headquarters, says it will continue its work and advocacy for their students as long as they are needed.
“Education is the most powerful tool we have to change trajectories and dislodge inequity,” said Grantham. “We will continue to fight for what’s right – for these kids and for our country.”
About Golden Door Scholars
Golden Door Scholars is a nonprofit founded in 2013 to invest in education and career access for high-performing DACA students. GDS currently supports 133 students enrolled at 43 colleges and an additional 25 scholars who have earned their degrees and are in graduate programs or working in highly technical roles at companies including Samsung, Oracle, and Red Ventures. Learn more at www.goldendoorscholars.org.
About Ric Elias
Ric Elias is the CEO and co-founder of Red Ventures and the founder of four nonprofit organizations; Golden Door Scholars, Rebuild Puerto Rico, Life Hoops, and RoadtoHire. Elias was a survivor of Flight 1549, an event which led to his widely-viewed TED Talk “3 things I learned while my plane crashed.” In September, he released a video expressing support for dreamers.
Media Contact: Kacey Grantham firstname.lastname@example.org